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Pearls of Wisdom

By Mike McPhate  |  December 19, 2008; 12:00 AM ET
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Have ambition.

Posted by: Cossackathon | December 19, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Don't ever let anyone change who you are.

Posted by: Niese97 | December 19, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Posted by: melissamac1 | December 19, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

At the age of 14 I was doing well in school. Straight A student. So I would have told myself to continue on the path I was on, because little did I know when I hit age 15 everything went in a different direction and continued on from there and not for the better.

Posted by: DFINLEY42 | December 19, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Okay, "Don't marry him," is a good piece of advice, but there's so much more I would do. First, because I'm able to time travel, I would totally take my younger self on a whirlwind tour of everytime, probably break the space/time continum, and have all kinds of fun doing it. But, I would also give me younger self some reassurance that the writing will pay off. Politics is fun, but focus on the English. It's more pratical and useful in the long run. Oh, and stay away from Washington DC. It's nice to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. I'd probably also give myself financial advice.

Posted by: akchild | December 19, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and one more thing! In a couple years, you'll start wearing glasses. Don't buy art work for your face. It's not worth the cost!

Posted by: akchild | December 19, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

with what I know now...........have more girlfriends if you know what I mean?

Posted by: charlietuna6661 | December 19, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Stay away from Marco.

And do better in school.

Posted by: wadejg | December 19, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Take more chances. Try more things. Don't be afraid to fail.

Posted by: Fedmomof3 | December 19, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

take care of your body. all those injuries bite you later in life.

Posted by: permagrin | December 19, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Become fluent in a different language.

Posted by: lulu16 | December 19, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

You really are a big deal!

Posted by: glt1979 | December 19, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Take Spanish instead of French in school - learn a more useful language for living in the US!

Posted by: mmmmmm1 | December 19, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Study abroad in college - for at least one semester.

Posted by: Zamagirl | December 19, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Tell dad to see a doctor and don't have the family move to Florida from Boston

Posted by: dandemain | December 19, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Direct quotes/advice from my mother, which I heard ad nauseam all my life:

Just shut up and do as you're told.

Learn to type, you'll always have a job.

You're not too big to get slapped.

Some day I'm going to walk out of here and never come back.

I'll hit you so hard it will jar your grandmother.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

I've never had any desire to (fill in the blank, usually in response to someone who had just done whatever she had no desire to do).

You should have 10 kids just like you.

Don't run with that stick, you'll 1) put your eye out or 2) ram it down your throat.

Don't even ask, you're not going to get it.

Do you think I'm made of money?

Don't cross your eyes, they'll stick like that.

The starving children in China would love to have that food on your plate. (I always wanted to tell her if she could find a way to get a 1/2 cup of broccoli to those starving kids, she could have it.)

Don't throw anything out, you might need it someday.

Just get through high school, that's all I want.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | December 19, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

ALL of the above!!

Posted by: boycrazyx5 | December 19, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Don't start smoking, because you are going to have to watch one of your best friends die of lung cancer at 44!

Posted by: warefamilymom | December 19, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

do not, i repeat, DO NOT (!) sign up for that credit card!

Posted by: jcrocke9 | December 19, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Any time you get an opportunity to get laid, take it. It's the ones you turn down that you wonder about.

Posted by: jimward21 | December 19, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I would not hang around negative people. I would have finished school. I learned a true lesson at the age of 14 that was a very critical time in my life because i was going in the wrong direction. Due to bad decisions that I made at that age I was put into a situation that was not good for me therefore it changed my life forever. I didnt like the situation at that time and regret some of my decisions..but I wouldnt change the exprience for the world because it made me who I am today. I thank GOD for blessing me and allowing me to grow and to learn from my mistakes...

Posted by: blackraspberry | December 19, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Wait until'll save you a whole-lotta grief and disappointment

Posted by: cjcrutcher | December 19, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Find the one thing that you do best and become the best there is at it. Don't compromise or cheat in any way. Then revel in your victories and enjoy the moment.

Posted by: Dadat39 | December 19, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Go ahead and punch that bully square in the nose...just once, and mean it. Getting suspended, grounded, and dealing with disappointed parents is a whole lot better than going through a lifetime as a frustrated doormat full of internalized rage.

Posted by: nobody12345 | December 19, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

not so much 'be' yourself, but rather *know* yourself ... which is to say constantly (re)learn yourself ... don't be on autopilot ... really think about what you want ... what you need ... what you are and what you are becoming ... and do not count on anyone else to 'change' and don't be on a mission to change them ... be around people who know who they are ... which might or might not lead to 'don't marry her' ...

Posted by: BillthePMP | December 19, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

oh yeah, and watch what you eat and don't get fat ... i know you are underweight now, but you won't always be if you make the wrong choices ... and no, your knee never gets better on its own ... and no, your dad will never accept you for who you are ... well he might, but you won't know it either way ...

Posted by: BillthePMP | December 19, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

if i can go back in time, my advice to myself would make good grades, boys can wait until you graduate from college, good credit will get you anywhere and and it's always good to save 10% of your paycheck because you never know what will happen in the future. and one more thing never hold back who you really are because you will have plenty of regrets once you get older

Posted by: sunshine24 | December 19, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

It would really be a combination of many. i would definitely strive to do better in school and prepare myself for more options and opportunities in life. those opportunities would have allowed me to invest in the microsoft's and real estate earlier to gain financial security. I know they say money is the root of all evil, but they just say that so YOU will be willing to part with it. Financial comfort is critical and are the essence behind all you need to do. Love and family are essential, but good finances make the situation even that much better.

Posted by: oknow1 | December 19, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Love your family, no matter how much older they are than you. Being the youngest of 5 won't be so bad in 30 years. Get your hearing checked now. Study. Stay in Church. Wait until marriage. Stay away from Joe Olivarri, he is trouble!

Posted by: ThelmaJ | December 20, 2008 6:03 AM | Report abuse

If I didn't know better, I would think baltimore11 WAS my mother.

Posted by: justlookin | December 20, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

yes Dadat39. I would add: not to waste time and money in college (and payin back student loans for rest of ur life). Be good at ONE thing and businesses and the world will pay for your services! it aint about a degree, its about makin 33/hr being a great welder.

Posted by: stevando | December 20, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I would not have starting smoking. 50 years later, emphysema has entered my life.

Posted by: Bridget2 | December 21, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

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